Juicy, crispy, succulent, tender, and incredibly satisfying, this recipe has everything above and beyond culinary pleasure. The vibrant and various textures within the same piece of chicken meat, combined with the rainbow of flavors created by the pepper and amplified by the lemon, will make you eat this recipe day in and day out.
Requiring nothing but basic cooking skills and not very demanding in terms of ingredients, you will find this dish a perfect fit for you when you crave something decadent in the taste and simple in the making.
The perfect combination of sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy, mixed with that crispy, sizzled chicken skin covering the juicy and tender meat, will drive you crazy with flavor and aroma.
One of the things I love about this recipe is the simplicity and availability of the ingredients. You don’t need any special planning here; you can just run to the nearest store and buy everything you need. If you are on a budget, don’t worry, as this recipe falls right into place even if the case is so.
You will need chicken cuts: thighs, wings, drums, and breasts for this recipe. However, you don’t have to use all of them, you can use only chicken tights, for example.
The other ingredients are lemon, honey, pepper (Cayenne and black), salt and Dijon.
In addition to being a very rich source of protein and very low in fat, chicken is widely used as base meat in many meals because of its ability to adapt to any flavor. Unlike pork or lamb, or even beef, which have distinctive and pungent smells and tend to leave them in the dish, chicken practically merges with the rest of the ingredients creating a single taste unit.
We are using chicken in this recipe because the skin is one of the key factors; this dish is so awesome. The honey-lemon marinade makes the skin sizzle when cooked, which creates an excellent cover for the juicy meat to become even juicier.
In addition, being that it is so absorbent when it comes to tastes, no other meat will take in the other flavors from the marinade as well as chicken.
Honey has a very wide application in cooking, mostly because of its ability to form a glaze when used as a marinade and to add sweetness without overwhelming the dish when used in sauces.
Honey is mostly used in combination with opposing tastes, such as mustard bitter or lemon sour. The honey and lemon combination in this marinade creates a perfect balance between the sweetness of the honey and the sharpness of the lemon. The honey provides a palpable smooth taste, while the lemon intensifies it.
In sweet as well as savory dishes, lemon has been used since the beginning of time to edge up almost any dish. A few drops of lemon zest can make all the difference in the world for many tasty delights.
In this recipe, the lemon brings out all the other flavors- the honey and its sweetness and gentility, the pepper and its spiciness, and the chicken and its softness. Therefore all flavors and aromas will seem stronger and more intense, with a whiff of lemon freshness. Although the lemon can dominate some dishes, here, it has a different place and a different role.
Whether you use it over your eggs or sprinkle a pinch in your soup, pepper, either black or Cayenne, has the ability to add flavor to whatever you use it for. Black pepper is a bit stronger and may give you the urge to sneeze because of its sharpness. On the other hand, Cayenne pepper is gentler in that aspect but stronger in taste; it gives the dish a smooth, almost velvety dimension.
In this recipe, the pepper is what gives life to the dish, and accompanied by the honey and lemon; it creates an absolute flavor explosion.Jump to Recipe
What to Serve with Honey Lemon Pepper Chicken?
From salads to sides, to bread to slices of caramelized fruit, the pairing options for this recipe are genuinely countless.
If you are in the mood for something rustic and creamy, pair this recipe with a scoop of mashed potatoes. If you are craving all fried, then combine the chicken with fries.
On the other hand, if you want something more elegant, you can combine it with fresh arugula and cherry tomato salad or grilled mushrooms and cheese.
If you feel like cooking, make yourself a plate of roasted or sautéed vegetables and spill some of the lemon honey pepper marinade over them.
To feel more like a pro, you can caramelize some orange slices and add them to the marinade. You can caramelize onions, so that’s a good option too.
I made a homemade cornbread without cornmeal which made a perfect match with honey lemon chicken tights!
What Does Adding Lemon to Chicken Do?
Lemon definitely has an effect on the chicken, whether you add it to marinade or while cooking. If you add lemon to the chicken marinade, it will soften the meat making it more susceptible and receptive to all of the flavors included in the marinade.
If you cook chicken with red sauce, adding lemon will decrease the tomato acidity regulating the pH value of the sauce, giving you a more balanced flavor. If you use lemon in white sauce, chicken containing cornstarch, or flour, it prevents curdling of the sauce, giving you a creamier and smoother sauce.
Overall, adding lemon to chicken provides freshness and intensifies the other flavors included in the recipe.
How to Store Honey Lemon Pepper Chicken? How Long It Lasts?
On the counter, honey lemon pepper chicken would be suitable for up to a few hours, after which you’ll have to refrigerate it.
In the fridge, it will likely last for four days if you store it well, of course. Airtight containers are always the best solution, but if you don’t have any at the moment, you can improvise.
You can store the chicken on a porcelain plate covered with a plastic wrapping foil, but make sure that air cannot penetrate the cover. Also, you can put the chicken in a pot covered with a lid. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t let air inside the container.
In the freezer, honey lemon pepper chicken will be good for up to a month. Place the chicken into a freezer baggie and place the baggie inside a plastic container.
How to Make Honey Lemon Pepper Chicken?
Honey Lemon Pepper Chicken Tights & Other Cuts
- 53 ounces Chicken Cuts (Tights, Drumsticks, Breasts…) You can use only tights if you prefer juicy chicken cuts.
- Pepper, Salt and Cayenne Pepper Season the meat according to your taste.
- 1,5 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Dijon
- Salt and Pepper To taste.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (or 200 °C).
- If you bought a whole chicken, cut it in parts, then season the meat with salt, pepper and Cayenne pepper. You can do this step the day before to ensure the juicy meat, but it's also fine if you do it right before baking.
- Make the marinade using the following ingredients: lemon, Dijon, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix well the ingredients.
- Place the chicken cuts in a baking pan and pour the marinade over them. Use your hands to tap the marinade on the chicken. Use a few pieces of lemon and place them on the meat.
- Place the meat in the oven for 55 minutes at 400 °F (or 200 °C).
- Wait for about 10 minutes before serving the honey lemon chicken.